Friday, March 4, 2011
THE FORGOTTEN GARDEN
by Kate Morton
Hardcover, 552 pages
Published April 7th 2009 by Atria (first published January 1st 2008)
Placement in the Pile: Reaching New Heights
n 1913, in the last year before the world plunged into war, a tiny orphan girl arrives alone on the shores of colonial Australia from England. Struck by pity, the dock master and his wife take her in and raise her as their own. On her 21st birthday, they finally reveal to "Nell" her true origins. Suddenly troubled by her missing history, she returns to her country of origin, hoping to trace her roots. She parses together some of her hidden past but dies before she can learn the complete story. Years later, her young granddaughter Cassandra pieces together the final missing parts of the puzzle. The author of The House at Riverton has crafted a novel of gothic intrigue that will remind some readers of The 13th Tale.
First, I have to say that summary on goodreads is pretty bland for this book. Sure, it sums it up, but it does not capture the magical way the book weaves in and out of past and present to reveal bits of the whole mystery.
Some might think that THE FORGOTTEN GARDEN has a lot to do with the story THE SECRET GARDEN, and upon reading the whole thing, there is not a lot in common. But I wonder if it was a source of inspiration for Kate Morton. There is a Father with a sickly child, greiving for the loss of his sister. When that sister's daughter his neice comes, the father instantly falls in love with her, and the cousins become great friends -- the niece helping the sickly cousin get better by taking her outside often and into the garden. Sound familiar? But that is honestly only like one or two chapters of the story.
The rest is a masterfully interwoven tale of mystery. Why was Nell left alone? Why can she not remember her past -- she was nearly 5 years old after all. Who is the Authoress? I don't want to give anything away, but I will say that Kate Morton has created a gem here, and I hope you give it a try even though it isn't strictly a Young Adult book.
That being said, I have a few complaints that attributed to the book not being a "Top Pick". Some attributes of the characters were a bit creepy. The way that the father obsessed over his sister. How completely cruel and heartless his wife was. Some of the arrangements that were made etc. Were all just a little bit odd. Then there were times where I would be in the book and think...she just changed point of view. There is no way that character would know exactly what the other character was feeling or thinking. And it was only occasionally. And the fact that it took me SO long to get through this book is a negative. Did I really enjoy it? Yes! Was I dying to keep reading? No. I was able to put it down, and often needed to to digest the information.
But don't let these things stop you from reading the book! If you like a good mystery, this is a book for you!